The neural correlation of sustained attention in performing conjunctive continuous performance task: an event-related potential study

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Abstract

Owing to great improvements in cognitive neuroscience, the study of brain functions during different types of cognitive tasks has attracted much attention. Recording event-related potentials (ERPs) is an appropriate tool for such a purpose, as it is noninvasive and affordable. Attention is among the most studied cognitive processes. In this study, a visual version of the conjunctive continuous performance task-visual was used to examine the differences of cognitive processes in target and nontarget stimuli. Twenty healthy individuals (average age: 23 years) participated in the study. Electroencephalogram signals were recorded from all participants during conjunctive continuous performance task-visual. After preprocessing, the ERPs were calculated by averaging the epochs that were time-locked to the stimulus onset. Then, the ERPs of the two groups of target and nontarget stimuli, from the aspects of differences in the P300 and N200 morphological features, were analyzed in three midline channels: Pz, Fz, and Cz. According to the results, the P300 amplitudes were significantly larger in the target than those in the nontarget stimuli. The P300 latencies were also larger in the target than in the nontarget stimuli, but the difference was only significant in the Pz channel ERPs. For the N200 component, the negativity of amplitudes was significantly more enhanced in the target than in the nontarget stimuli. However, for the N200 latencies, no significant difference was found based on the data obtained from the groups. Furthermore, the findings suggest that the distribution of the P300 component is more centroparietal for the target stimuli, and more centrofrontal for the nontarget ones. In addition, the distribution of the N200 component is more frontoparietal for both the target and nontarget stimuli.

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